Lindis Pass highway weaves through rolling hills at sunset in Central Otago, New Zealand

Figures released by has revealed what it is that Chinese travellers want from their New Zealand experience. The Chinese International Travel Monitor report revealed a gap in what Chinese guests want versus what hotels are providing, highlighting that, by making some adaptations to accommodate Chinese tourists, there is huge potential for New Zealand hotels to further tap into this market.

Chinese travellers are spending a 28 per cent of their income on average on international travel, and are intending to spend 10 per cent more on travel in the next 12 months, with New Zealand ranked number seven for most desired global destination, up 5 places from 2016.

The report reveals that tour buses and group travel are on their way out for Chinese travellers, with independent travel, eco-tours and backpacking on the rise. Shopping no longer holds the attraction it once did for Chinese travellers, taking a 35 per cent drop from last year. Dining, sightseeing and rest and relaxation activities took out the top spots for daily expenditure by Chinese travellers. Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, David Spasovic says the New Zealand tourism industry needs to cater to the new generation of Chinese traveller.

“Chinese travellers make up New Zealand’s second largest inbound tourist market with nearly 400,000 visiting New Zealand in 2016. And as the number of Chinese travellers grows so too do their expectations of new, more adventurous and diverse travel offerings.”

“It is important that hoteliers continue to adapt to the evolving needs of this market and develop tailored hotel services that tap into the enormous spending power of Chinese travellers. is proud to partner with accommodation providers who work hard to ensure Chinese travellers get the most out of their Kiwi travel experience.”

What can New Zealand hotels do better?

  • In-house Mandarin speaking staff was ranked number one by travellers but was low on the list for NZ hoteliers, with only 17 per cent currently offering the service and 8 per cent planning to in the next 12 months.
  • Chinese payment facilities at hotels, such as Union Pay, rank second for consumers in importance, yet only 12 per cent of NZ hotels currently offer these facilities. Indeed, only 18 per cent intend to offer them in the next 12 months.
  • Translated travel guides were ranked number four by travellers but are a low in priority for hoteliers; 24 per cent currently offering this and only 5 per cent planning to in future.